Apr 27, 2021

2021 Nursing Innovations Fund Request for Proposal (RFP)

Deadline Extended until July 8



 Since its inception, the profession of nursing has given voice to the voiceless, and in many ways, health equity and nurses are a natural fit. Now, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and a renewed movement for racial justice, many in our society, including nurses, are looking at health equity through fresh eyes, seeking new ways to more effectively help the people whose health is most negatively affected by social factors, and move all in our communities toward better health.

With this Nursing Innovations Fund request for proposal, we hope to stimulate new solutions for achieving health equity that align with findings in the National Academy of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity. Looking ahead and preparing for this critically important work, the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), has developed resources such as a Health Equity Toolkit, Health Equity Action Forums, and Population Health in Nursing reports. The following request for proposal reflects all that we have learned through those activities, as well as nursing’s long history of pursuing justice.


The Campaign for Action will provide up to $25,000 each to select Action Coalitions working with nursing and multi-sector partners on projects that help ensure everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy and well as possible by addressing policies relating to structural inequities, preferably structural racism, and in one or more of these priority areas:

  • Access to care and services
  • Housing insecurity
  • Food insecurity
  • Social isolation
  • Poverty, low-income or employment insecurity, or
  • Educational attainment

 The goals of this competitive, one-year award are to:

  • Inform and influence policy
  • Visibly and strategically involve a diversity of stakeholders
  • Create replicable strategies that place nurses in positions as essential partners in providing care and promoting health equity and a Culture of Health. A Culture of Health is RWJF’s vision to improve health, equity, and well-being across America. It emphasizes the importance of cross-sector collaboration and building effective relationships.

A 1:1 match is required for each dollar awarded, and applicants must prove that they have acquired matching funds. In-kind donations are welcome and valued but will not count as matching funds.

Working together with community partners, Action Coalitions will be able to influence policy solutions and have greater impact. To help achieve the goal of broadening stakeholders, applicants might consider the following strategies:

  • Collaborate with partners that have similar goals (e.g., local health departments, housing authorities, schools, businesses)
  • Join forces with other effective campaigns or community-based organizations
  • Look for alternative funding sources through corporate giving, state or federal grants, or individuals, and/or
  • Work with non-nursing partners to promote mutually beneficial policies that will lead to greater improvements in health and well-being

Action Coalitions may focus on policy solutions at the local, state, or federal levels. They may also focus on creating change in the private sector. Information about the social determinants of health and health equity can be found in the resources section of the frequently asked questions document that is part of this package.


Action Coalitions committed to addressing nursing’s role in building health equity and a Culture of Health are encouraged to apply for the Nursing Innovations Fund award. Applicant organizations must:

  • Be a Campaign for Action state Action Coalition or an approved organization affiliated with the Action Coalition
  • Applicant organizations affiliated with the state Action Coalition must also:
    • Submit a letter from the Action Coalition supporting their application to lead the project and describing the role of the Action Coalition
    • Show evidence of how they will engage the Action Coalition throughout the project
  • Preference will be given to Action Coalitions with a co-lead who belongs to an organization represented by the Campaign’s Equity Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee
  • Secure 1:1 matching funds (a maximum of $25,000 to be awarded)
  • Advance and enhance nursing’s role in promoting health equity and a Culture of Health by addressing policies relating to structural inequities, preferably structural racism, and in one or more of these priority areas: access to care and services, housing insecurity, food insecurity, social isolation, poverty, low-income or employment insecurity, or educational attainment
  • Show evidence of using The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action’s Health Equity Toolkit in your proposed strategy
  • Show evidence of the proposed project’s replicability
  • Show evidence of the organization’s sustainability
  • Clearly explain the role of each partner identified for this project
  • Show evidence of new partnerships with organization(s) that have established success with populations who experience high levels of health disparities
  • Show evidence of stakeholders who represent racial and ethnic diversity, as well as diverse professional fields, experiences, locations, and other aspects of the community

Preference will also be given to applicants that are either public entities or nonprofit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.


Funds may be used for personnel, meetings, supplies, project-related travel, and contractors or consultants. Funds may not be used to subsidize individuals for the costs of their health care, to support clinical trials of unapproved drugs or devices, to construct or renovate facilities, for lobbying, for political activities, or as a substitute for funds currently being used to support similar activities. Chosen applicants will be required to report on the use of their Nursing Innovations Fund at the end of the funding period.


The Campaign strives to increase the diversity of the nursing student body, faculty, and workforce. This objective can be obtained by recruiting stakeholders and partners who represent diversity in many forms. Consistent with RWJF values, this program embraces diversity and inclusion across multiple dimensions, including, but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual identity, and socioeconomic status. We strongly encourage applications that will help expand the perspectives and experiences we bring to our work. We believe that the more that such diversity is included in these efforts, the more successful we will be in building a Culture of Health and health equity, enabling all in our diverse society to lead healthy lives now, and for generations to come.


Complete the application template (.docx) and submit via email to NursingInnovations@aarp.org, no later than 10 p.m. ET on June 30 July 8, 2021. In fairness to all applicants, the program will not accept late submissions. All funding decisions will be made by a review team consisting of Campaign for Action leadership, staff, and advisers.

Interested applicants are encouraged to participate in an optional informational web conference scheduled on April 29, 2021, 2-3 p.m. ET.

For more information on the Nursing Innovations Fund and proposal requirements, please contact:

The Center to Champion Nursing in America
AARP Public Policy Institute
601 E St. NW
Washington, DC 20049
Phone: (202) 434-2148
Email: NursingInnovations@aarp.org
Website: CampaignforAction.org


The Center to Champion Nursing in America, which runs the Campaign for Action and is also an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP and RWJF, will provide technical assistance and direction for those who receive awards. All applicants, regardless of whether they receive an award, will be offered technical assistance throughout the year.


April 29, 2-3 p.m. ET Webinar for interested applicants
June 30 July 8, 10 p.m. ET Applicant submission deadline
August/September Finalists notified of funding recommendations
October 1 Projects initiated


Download the RFP   (PDF)

Download the Application (.docx)

Updated: July 2, 2021.